Monday, August 24, 2009

Almost check-in time

Hello from this side of labor! If all goes as planned (when does that ever happen?), today is my last full day of this pregnancy. 40 weeks is a long time.

Gunter and I have enjoyed the past few days. Highlights include our family all coming to see us one more time while I’m still pregnant, a movie date, trying a Japanese restaurant in town with a couple of friends, watching two Tyler Perry plays on DVD and tying up loose ends. We split a big Diet Coke at the movies, the first I’ve had in I can’t remember when. Bailey didn’t seem to mind. The weather has taken on a tinge of fall, and it’s beautiful, though now both of us have sinus trouble. Gunter has done very well with his new healthy diet. We’ve become quite educated on the fat content of various foods. Some restaurants’ nutrition facts have shocked us. We discovered that fat free milk is not bad after all, even for me, the milkaholic. We started work on our choir Christmas cantata, “All Bow Down” by Travis Cottrell. I read Baby Wise, but I don’t think I’ll understand it until I know what caring for a baby is actually like. Gunter finished stripping the paint from a dresser for the nursery. Lots of getting up during the night and lots of feet-propping. Lots of “You haven’t had that baby yet?!” I realized this morning that if I were pregnant one more day, there’s no way I could paint my toenails myself. Having TV in the hospital will be kind of like vacation for us. We haven’t had cable since we got married, and we’ve had no TV since we moved to Brockton.

It’s strange to think that Gunter and I are about to go through such an experience together. He mentioned last night that it’s even more special to him because it hasn’t been so long ago that we went through other life-changing experiences that weren’t so happy. Sometimes I still think of us as those little kids who met in third grade or those high school friends who cut up together. Life is such an adventure.

I’ve had moments of nervousness about the next couple of days, but I’m not nervous right now. Last night, I worried about all the swine flu talk going around since I’m about to spend a few days in a hospital and bring a baby into this germy world, but I’m over it for now. I can’t miss enjoying this because of something over which God already has control.

We’re still hoping I’ll go into labor before tomorrow morning, but if not, I’m okay with that. No, I’m not going to jog, ride a dirt road or take castor oil. Walking is painful, but I do what I can, my front yard is a bumpy enough ride, and I’ve heard the castor oil horror stories.

So, I guess I’ll see you on the flip side. I’ll post pictures as soon as I can.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A liver story

I know I’ve been talking about cooking more than usual lately, but I have a new challenge, one I shouldn’t be so overwhelmed by, but I sort of am. Just as I’ve gotten back into cooking on a regular basis (well, regular for me), now I have to learn to do it healthy.

Not that my cooking is that unhealthy. We’re not talking Paula Dean good and fattening. We from South Alabama start out well. We cook with chicken, fish, fresh vegetables and lean meat. But then, we like to make it taste good.

Gunter got some good news and some bad news Tuesday. The good news is there was no recurrence of cancer on his CT scans. The bad news is that he has nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Basically, his body doesn't break down fat well and it ends up in his liver. Fatty liver disease can be reversed with a healthy diet, but if left untreated for some time, it can cause cirrhosis and liver failure.

So, he’s supposed to be careful about what he eats, cutting way down on all the things we’ve always been told are bad – fats, margarines, carbs that turn into sugar (like bread and pasta), artificial sweeteners, etc. – and eat more fresh (raw) fruits and vegetables, along with some high-quality protein.

This is sad, but as we were reading about this kind of diet, one of my first questions was, “How do you cook without margarine? Is butter better?”

Obviously, I’m in need of some ideas of things to cook that follow these guidelines as closely as possible and still be something he’ll eat. Between the two of us, I’m the one who likes fruits, vegetables and whole grains. He’s more of a meat, potatoes and bread kind of guy. Hopefully, he can learn to adapt his tastes, kind of like when you’ve weaned yourself off soft drinks and sweet tea for a while and you actually want water.

Really, if we’d just eat food the way God provides it for us – as is – we wouldn’t have so many health problems.

Any advice from all you health-conscious cooks out there?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Countdown to D-Day: 5 days or less

We just got back from the doctor, and he says if Bailey is not born by Monday, we'll spend the night in the hospital and induce Tuesday morning...on her due date.

I have mixed feelings about this. I'm excited that we should have a baby within a week (WHAT?!), but I'd still rather she come on her own. Makes me feel like we're forcing or rushing, even though she's probably been ready for weeks. But, inducing means my doctor would be there to deliver, and I like that. I would say I like the predictability of inducing, but I know that birth is anything but predictable, no matter how it happens.

Funny, I'm still not nervous. Maybe I'm in denial?

We'll see what happens between now and Monday. It's still all in God's hands. ...And maybe is influenced by that lady who works at Chick-Fil-A in Montgomery. She predicted Bailey would be born this weekend, and then rubbed a blessing on my stomach.

Everything else still looks good with the baby, except her head is a little high. My blood pressure, weight gain, etc., is still normal, though "everything looks good" would probably not be the most appropriate phrase to describe me right now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Face to face...almost

Here are Bailey's ultrasound photos from Tuesday, as promised. What a cute little round head!

And for the grand finale, a 4D picture. What a pleasant surprise! See any resemblance yet?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Discoveries from maternity leave week 1

Discovery #1
Cooking and eating at home supposedly saves money by avoiding restaurant food costs. Ah, but cooking costs a lot, too, when you add up:

the price of food + gas for trips to the grocery store + electricity it takes to run the stove and oven + electricity for the air conditioner to offset kitchen heat + electricity and water to clean the kitchen, wash the dishes and run the dishwasher

I think I've been loading and unloading our dishwasher every day for the past few days, and I'm not even a serious cook.

Discovery #2
Cooking can be fulfilling for a Southern woman, even if it's really simple stuff not picked from one's own garden. For example, I made my first fruit cobbler yesterday. This is about as "from scratch" as it gets around here. I've never been a big dessert-maker, so Gunter wondered what was going on. Well, for the first time in my life, I understand the importance of sweets.

I discovered that peaches can be hard to peel because they're so slippery underneath that fuzzy exterior. My favorite part of this recipe was eating peach peelings and bread crust as I went. I couldn't bear to waste some of the best parts.

A buttered 8x8 baking pan
5 to 6 peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (the ones at Walmart were HUGE, so I only used 3)
5 slices of white bread
1 1/2 cups sugar (I accidentally used 2 1/2 cups. No wonder it was so sweet!)
1 egg
1 stick of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of flour (not a common item in my house, but I had some because Gunter plans to make biscuits at some point)

Place peaches in the buttered 8x8 baking pan. Cut crust from the bread and slice into fine fingers. Place the bread fingers over the peaches. Mix sugar, flour, egg and butter, and pour over fruit and bread. Bake 35-45 minutes until golden brown.

Discovery #3
It is possible to sleep past 7 a.m. I can't do it without waking up first and making a conscious effort to go back to sleep, but it can be done. That's all I'll say about that. I don't want to rub it in the face of all you working folks. But for months, people have been telling me to get all the rest I can because now is the last time I'll ever sleep in my entire life...ever. So I'm trying.

Discovery #4
It's difficult to reach my laptop keys, so I'm going to take a break now.

Maternity leave day 7 - a medical update

I’m still here and still great with child. This is officially week 38. I’ll go back to that tracking method, since measurements are now moving beyond the normal span of pregnancy.

We’ve all been doing well. I am thankful for every single second of this pregnancy, and I realize how fortunate I am to have made it this far…but I’m about to the point of being “ready.”

I’m adjusting to this slower-paced life at home. I have been catching up on some housework and getting out, too, though it takes more out of me than it has. I’m surprised that I haven’t run out of things to do. In fact, I haven't gotten around to several items on my to-do list. And yes, I have been catching up on rest. I don’t have much of a choice in the matter. Swelling and pain overrules my wishes from time to time.

I’ve started on a pretty good novel, but I should be writing thank-you notes instead.

I saw my regular doctor yesterday (the rotations are finally over!), and I remember that I like him a lot. He noticed that my face is swelling along with my feet, but he said it’s okay because my blood pressure is good. No progress as far as labor goes. He said that even though the baby is getting big, he won’t consider inducing until, at the earliest, a week before my official due date (August 25). He wants to make sure the baby’s lungs are fully developed. I’m good with that. Still hoping labor starts on its own.

Dr. B was almost certain the baby’s head was down, but he sent me for an ultrasound to make sure. Indeed, it was. They estimate she weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces. I was glad to finally ID the body parts that most commonly poke out here or there. We got to take home some pictures, so I’ll post them as soon as we get them scanned.

So, Dr. B sent me home, told me to keep my feet up as much as I can and wants to see me next Wednesday.

Sorry if this blog has sounded more like a report, but my writing is a little rusty after a week of being away from work and not blogging.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Maternity leave day 1/2

A picture is worth a thousand words, but two swollen feet are evidently worth a ticket home. Let me break it down into an equation:

Doctor’s appointment + (7.5- to 8-pound baby on the way) + caring folks at work = maternity leave before lunchtime

As of my appointment yesterday, I’m still measuring 2 weeks ahead of schedule, which I guess puts me at 39 weeks and a couple days. The doctor estimated the baby could weigh 7.5 to 8 pounds by now. He said we’d rather have a big, healthy baby than one who’s not ready. I agree. I’d rather not be induced if I don’t have to be.

He thought Bailey was head-down, but he wasn’t sure. She doesn’t like to be grabbed or prodded, so she put up quite a fight when he tried to feel her out. Everything else looked good, and I’ll see my regular doctor next week if I haven’t gone into labor by then.

Doc still wasn’t concerned about my feet, but the folks at work were when I showed up this morning. I was willing to work the rest of the week if they really wanted me to, but they told me to go on home and put my feet up. No argument here. I am now officially on maternity leave, so I can do housework goof off rest until Bailey shows up.

I actually did prop them up for a couple hours this afternoon, and I was amazed at how much better they felt…until I was on them again. I guess Gunter was right – propping them on a stool underneath my desk is not the same as “up.”

Being home makes me feel a lot better about the unknown. I’m not in a big hurry for her to come now (except for that 8+ pounds thing), but I doubt it will be too much longer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Name those feet

Let's play a game! I'll give you two pictures of feet, and you pick which ones are mine and which ones belong to a certain famous pig who co-starred on one of my favorite movies of all time, Muppet Treasure Island.

Set of feet #1:

Set of feet #2:

Give up?

Set of feet #1 belongs to...

The glamorous, the fabulous, the one and only Miss Piggy.

Set of feet #2 belongs to...

Me, the human torpedo! And guess what...These pictures were taken first thing this morning! Now, if I could only get Miss Piggy's wardrobe and snazzy sense of style!